In Review: Aliens: Rescue #1

A decent start to this series.

The covers: There are two possibilities for you to find as you seek to add to your collection. The Regular cover by Roberto De La Torre has three Colonial Marines look into an Alien constructed opening that’s full of several human skulls. They point their weapons forward to ensure they’re not attacked. Behind them is a target practice poster featuring the white silhouette of a xenomorph on black background. I like this. The┬áVariant cover is by Mack Chater and features a Marine holding a pulse rifle from behind. He’s stopped in this tracks and is twisting to his left. The fear on his face is palpable. Behind him is a massive xenomorph. This is a gorgeous cover with outstanding use of whites, blacks, and violets. I would love to see this as a poster or print. Overall grades: Regular A- and Variant A

The story: Colonial Marine Alec Brand, who was rescued from an alien infested moon by Amanda Ripley and Zula Hendricks, is called into a meeting on the Allied Command Luna Base by a woman who wants to show him two pictures: they’re of Ripley and Hendricks. He tells this woman that the pair are heroes to him. A three paged flashback shows his youth and how he ended up on the doomed Gaspar that was shown in Dark Horse Comics’ Aliens: Resistance. Once he’s done with his tale she offers him a position in deep space recon with the Marines. He goes, but he has a condition that she can’t help him with. The story then moves to Mars where Brand faces a different type of alien threat. The final two pages has the woman from beginning, Bowden, return to tell him something else. This sets his life in a new direction that will undoubtedly have him encountering his heroes as well as his nightmares. This issue by Brian Wood lays the groundwork out quickly for the premise. It’s a smooth story, but there are no familiar xenomorphs in this issue and the female leads are only seen in photographs. This is fine for now because I’m hoping they’ll appear later, as will the iconic monsters in the title. Overall grade: B

The art: Kieran McKeown with inks by JL Straw are┬áresponsible for the artwork and it looks okay. I’m used to seeing the visuals look a little more realistic in an Aliens book, but this looks like standard comic book fare. There’s nothing wrong with this, but there’s nothing visually spectacular about it either. The opening three pages have the characters look pretty rigid. Bowden’s hair is all over the place, making it seem like there’s a breeze on her face in the meeting room. Her fingers are also awkwardly positioned in the third panel on Page 3. The double-paged spread on 4 and 5 is a solid throwback to Aliens: Resistance, but the women look incredibly stiff; it doesn’t look as though there’s any recoil from their weapons fire. I do like the aliens, but they’re hard to make out due to the coloring. This does make them look like a never ending mass of death, but I want to see the details of these creatures. The flashback pages on Earth look great. I like the epic scale McKeown gives the setting, with the point of view making things gigantic. The faces on 9 are very basic and once again Bowden’s hair is everywhere. Things improve when Brand gets to the world on 11. The ships are good. the setting strong, and the threats outstanding. The design of the creatures fits in well with the beasts from the film and I really like Brand’s flashbacks during the fighting. The final five pages have the point of view move around well, but Bowden’s hair really draws attention negatively. Overall grade: B-

The colors: The book’s colors by Dan Jackson create the appropriate tone for the interior of a military base with the characters’ skin making them easy focuses. I was taken back by the really dark shading on Brand’s arms under the table — I thought they belonged to someone else. Notice how Jackson has the background become a strong orange in the final panel on 3 to introduce the action that’s on the next page. Very smart. I stated in the Art review that the aliens are just too darkly colored on 4 and 5. I do like the weapons fire which looks powerful, but I need some differentiation on the creatures. The colors on Earth are great, instantly making it seem like the world is dying. The colors of the world on 11 are perfect. The oranges and yellows there make the action intense and provide the perfect counter to the emerald colored flashbacks. Overall grade: A-

The letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot is the creator of the book’s scene settings, dialogue, credits, and some words that are yelled or emphasized. The scene settings match the fonts from the films used to introduce settings, so that’s a good link to the source material. The dialogue is easy to read, with words slightly enlarged, italicized, and/or bolded for emphasis or yells. There are sadly no sounds in this book. This isn’t Piekos’s call to include or omit, but sounds would have made the action scenes on Mars much stronger. Those pages look fine, but their omission by Wood makes them muted. Overall grade: B

The final line: This is a decent start to the series, though the heroes and title creatures are only in photos and one flashback. Wood is setting the stage for the action of the upcoming issues. The visuals are typical comic book fare: they look fine, but don’t have the awesomeness of previous Alien comics. My hopes were higher than they should have been for this opening installment, but I’m still eager to see what happens next. Overall grade: B

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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